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For Immediate Release: January 24, 2008

Metropolitan Export Data Series Fact Sheet

Released January 24, 2008


The Metropolitan Export Series was released on January 24, 2008 by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of the Census and Manufacturing and Services. This data, available for 2005 and 2006, contains merchandise export values of the 369 metro areas for which data is available, including:

  • Top five merchandise export categories (3-digit NAICS) by value.
  • Merchandise export value and some commodity detail for exports to ten major geographic and economic country groups, including NAFTA, the EU, Asia and South America.
  • For largest metro areas, top five merchandise export destinations by country.


All metropolitan merchandise export numbers were tabulated by matching the Origin of Movement (OM) five-digit ZIP codes entered on U.S. export declarations with counties that are assigned to specific metropolitan areas by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). For a complete listing of these metropolitan areas, please see

Although this new series resembles an earlier metropolitan export series that was discontinued in 2001, there are significant methodological differences. With the introduction of a new electronic collection method, significant changes were observed in the recorded export data. While the Exporter Location Series (the standard measurement of export data at the time) was drastically affected, a separate state export series based upon the OM series was not. The OM series was ultimately adopted as the standard measurement of export data, and a new measurement of metropolitan exports was possible.

In addition, metropolitan areas are redefined with each decennial Census. Earlier data was based on 1990 metropolitan area definitions, and the most recent 2005-2006 series is based on the 2000 Census definitions. Comparisons should not be made between the two series.

Highlights from metro export series for 2006:

  • Seven metro areas posted 2006 export sales of $25 billion or more. These metro areas were responsible for 30 percent of total U.S. merchandise exports in 2006.
  • An additional 30 metro areas exported between $5 billion and $24 billion. These top 37 metro areas accounted for 61 percent of total U.S. merchandise exports in 2006.
  • The New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island metropolitan area was the nation’s top exporting metropolis in 2006, shipping a total of $66.2 billion in merchandise to foreign markets.
    • In 2006, New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island was followed by Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown ($53.3 billion), Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana ($48.7 billion), Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue ($46.3 billion), and Detroit-Warren-Livonia ($43.3 billion).